Thursday, March 14, 2013

OZ: The Great and Powerful

Like many people, my first exposure to The Wizard of Oz was the Judy Garland film. I always wanted to be Dorothy for Halloween as a child and for whatever reason, I never was (Hmmm getting ideas for this year's Halloween costume, but I digress) Then I fell in love with the Broadway musical and book Wicked and its sequels Son of a Witch, and the vastly-underappreciated Return to Oz.

With the new release of the Disney movie OZ: The Great and Powerful, I could not wait to see yet another sping of the 1939 classic!

Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, intended to show us how the Wizard from the 1939 film (and the original book) got to the land of Oz in the first place. It turns out that he’s a small-time magician in a traveling circus, as well as a player and a bit of a charlatan, although what he really wants to be is a cross between Houdini and Edison (who he admires greatly). After playing the field with one too many circus women, Oscar Zoroaster* (“Oz”) Diggs escapes in the circus’s hot air balloon, right into the path of a tornado.

And we all know what happens then. He finds himself in the land of Oz - full of witches and talking/flying monkeys and living china dolls.

I've read a lot of reviews online and sadly most are not very complimentary. However, I rather LOVED this movie. Perhaps because I left the 1939 class out of my mind and enjoyed this movie for what it is. This story isn't about Dorothy, so if you go in expecting that, of course you will find disappointment.

I truly did love everything about this movie. I loved the graphics, the costuming, the casting. I loved the whimsey of it all.

I think one of the things I loved most was the transformation -- as well as great acting -- from Theodora, played by Mila Kunis. When Oz meets Theodora, she is beautiful, naive and innocent, wanting only the best for her people. She falls to Oz's charm. However, after getting brushed aside by Oz, and with the "help" of Evanora (already a nasty witch), Theodora succumbs to wickedness and her heart is hardened. She transforms into the Wicked Witch of the West we all know!

While I found myself laughing out loud at some scenes, the movie also has a number of emotional moments as well! I was amazed and a bit shocked of  how much of a love story this truly is.

So friends, are you planning to venture back to Oz and see this movie? If you have already, what were your thoughts?

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